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How to Inspire Students to Love Language and the Arts

Art instructor Antje Naumann does not just know a lot about paints, palettes, brushes and canvas. A talented and clever teacher, she also knows a bit about how to kill two birds with one stone. The former student and longtime dedicated art instructor of the Wiesbadener Freie Kunstschule, an art school in Wiesbaden, Germany, sought to combine the joy of what she loves the most, painting, with the love of the English language. Having heard about the Kids’ English Idiom Art Contest 2012 and always looking for ways to inspire her young students, the artist from Saxony-Anhalt asked members of her weekly children’s art club to pick up their paintbrushes and depict English idioms, proverbs and sayings, both real as well completely made-up or imaginary. With this assignment, the students could learn basic art concepts as well as what an English idiom is in an entertaining, educational and inspirational way. The results were: lots of fun, lots of learning and lots of nice paintings.


Such is Life
Such is Life
Alma, age 8


Apple of My Eye
The Apple of My Eye / It’s Raining Cats and Dogs
Evelyn, age 9



True Friends are Like Diamonds
True Friends are Like Diamonds
Mona, age 9

Give Peace a Chance
Give Peace a Chance
Alma, age 8

Precious but rare
Precious but Rare
Manal, age 9

Antje Naumann, whose motto is art is fun and the best game to play, no matter how old you are instructs art courses for inspiring artists of all ages in Leipzig and Wiesbaden, Germany, as well as through distance education courses offered worldwide. She can be contacted through the Wiesbadener Freie Kunstschule.

Idiom Quiz for Kids
Idiom Quiz: Animals
A Short Story with Idioms - for Kids
Ideas for Teachers: Creative Writing Exercises with English Idioms






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A Short Story for Kids - A Lesson with English Idioms

After having done the recent Idiom Quiz for Kids, your students might be interested in doing the follow-up exercise below to test their ability to recognize what an English idiom is as well as the specific English idioms that they have learned.

Here is a short story for students to read. Feel free to make photocopies. You can do many things with this text including asking your students to identify the English idioms that they see, write them down, help you understand the text, etc...


Lesson plans idioms


The Eager Beavers and Mr. Oldkool

Once upon a time, there was a wonderful class of very hard-working and well-educated boys and girls in an amazing school in a far, far, far away fairytale land. Definitely not couch potatoes, these boys and girls were, in fact, full of beans. Their teacher, Mr. Oldkool, admired them, however, for their hard work and often called them his eager beavers. The eager beavers loved to learn. They spelled, they read and they wrote. They added, they subtracted and they multiplied. When Mr. Oldkool told them about a new and fascinating subject, like the apple snail, they were all ears. When he gave them assignments to do, they took them home eagerly and were as busy as bees. One day, Mr. Oldkool surprised the eager beavers with a math test. It was 10 pages long and had the most difficult questions on it that you could imagine. He handed out the test papers and told the boys and girls to put their thinking caps on. Break a leg he said to the students as he walked back to his desk and started working on another lesson plan on the fascinating world of the apple snail. Looking at the math tests, the children’s faces, surprisingly, did not look troubled. Remaining cool as a cucumber, they picked up their pencils and went to work. It turned out that all of the eager beavers passed the test and, for some, it was even a piece of cake. To celebrate, the kids got to watch a two-hour movie on the apple snail as an aquarium pet. Who would have thought that their hard work would pay off so well and that apple snails could be as big as 15 cm in diameter? The answer to that question would have to be: Mr. Oldkool.


To view the English idioms that appear in The Eager Beavers and Mr. Oldkool, click here.

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Ideas for Teachers: Creative Writing Exercises with English Idioms







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